Do Or Die Time for MA’s Online Lottery Effort

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Massachusetts has online lottery bills in the works, despite the state’s difficult history of expanding gambling.

Massachusetts is surrounded on all sides – less Vermont – by states that have already legalized online lotteries. If this gambling bill succeeds, it will probably be thanks to the Bay State feel pressure from neighbors.

It’s a big “if”, though. Tomorrow is the deadline for legislation to come out of the joint committees, which is what it needs to do to have a chance of becoming law this year. Although many states 7 million citizens are surely hungry for online lottery options, lawmakers have to deal with the baggage of years of negative news and gambling studies with problematic results.

What’s going on groundhog day will determine whether the bill makes it out of committee. According to a particular rule in Massachusetts, the first Wednesday in February of the second annual session of the legislature is known as Common Rule 10 deadline. If the iLottery bills do not leave the joint committee studying them, supporters of the bill will have to reintroduce it in the next legislative session.

iLottery charges for one year of preparation

In February 2021, Sen. Paul R. Feeney, D-Foxboro, filed SB 203. It and proposed legislation with the same wording, HB 36, call for the creation of an iLottery.

These and another measure, HB 316, presented by Rep. Daniel Cahill, D-Lynn, stuck in the same virtual audience.

In June 2021, the Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional License heard the online lottery proposals.

Despite being introduced last year and stalled in committee, the bills are still listed as “current”. However, they were not on the agenda for the last meeting, held on January 10, 2022.

Feeney and Cahill’s offices did not provide comment to RPO for this article. The proposal to the House is sponsored by the office of the state treasurer.

The online lottery has enemies

During this June 2021 hearing, lottery retailers pushed for the status quo. Land ticket sellers have told lawmakers that lottery sales are helping them stay in business during the pandemic. It is according to Play MA, part of the same network as Online poker report.

These retailers probably believed they had a lot to lose.

An online lottery would likely be a hit in Massachusetts, given that its residents spend the most in the country on tickets. Bay Staters Spend $933.33 one year on lottery tickets, according to a study published in July 2020. GOBankingTariffs research found that Massachusetts spending totaled more than thrice the expenses of the average American, which were $288.06.

The online casino has allies

Meanwhile, on January 19, Adam Greenblatt, CEO of BetMGM said retail casinos have become allies of online casino operators. When states review online casino legislation, retail casino owners have stopped opposing it as they have found that online gambling is adding to their bottom line.

Land-based casino owners feared that the legalization of online casinos in the United States would cannibalize their revenue.

Meanwhile in May 2021, Boston Harbor again widely featured in the Wynn Interactive Investor Presentation. Wynn Interactive Homes Wynn BET Casino and the associated online bookmaker.

The presentation went into great detail about how WynnBET Sportsbook would have a “home court advantage” because the 208,000 square feet Wynn Resorts The property is “located in America’s Craziest Sports City”. Once Massachusetts legalized online and retail sports betting, it would generate $850 million of gross gaming revenue (GGR) each year, depending on the presentation.

Thus, at least one retail casino owner has advocated the launch of online sports betting in the Bay State. However, the Senate has yet to act on sports betting legislation passed by the House in July 2021. RPO sister site Legal sports report believes HB 3977 may have the best chance of passing in 2022, and the the proposed legislation includes online and retail sports betting.

Now Wynn Interactive is on sale for $500 million.

Even as Wynn waited for Massachusetts to legalize sports betting, the border state Connecticut launched its market for online casino games and sports betting. Nutmeg will also soon have an iLottery and online poker is legal.

New Hampshire and Rhode Island mobile sports bets already accepted and on January 8, western neighbor New York did the same.

Only Vermont remains in the same non-sports betting boat as Massachusetts.

History of Gambling in the Bay State

Perhaps the slow pace of online lottery legalization in Massachusetts is understandable.

Since joining the ranks of retail casino states in 2011, it has had its woes.

Like RPO reported in May 2019:

“First there was the failure of the 2014 repeal referendum.

“There is an ongoing investigation into Wynn Resorts stemming from alleged sexual assaults by former CEO Steve Wyn.

“And the over-again-again first light tribal casino.

“Launch a handful of active chases; accusations of embezzlement by the Massachusetts Gaming Commission which led to the resignation of MGC Chairman Stephen Crosby in September 2018; and disappointing income MGM Springfield, and it’s easy to see why headlines would conclude that the game’s expansion has been a nightmare in the Bay State.

It’s a state that could benefit greatly from good gambling news. Will tomorrow be the day, or is the online lottery too big in 2022?

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